While most of the political rhetoric surrounding deportation from the United States focuses on individuals who enter or reside in the U.S. illegally, legal permanent residents can also be deported under certain conditions. Specifically, if you are convicted of certain criminal offenses, your record could serve as grounds for your removal from the United States, regardless of your previous immigration status.
Given how significant the impact of criminal charges on deportation defenses in Wheaton can be, it could be extremely important to retain legal counsel if you suspect your criminal record may be used against you in deportation proceedings. Even if you have a criminal record, a skilled immigration lawyer could help you contest the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) assertion that your record justifies your deportation.
What Crimes Make Someone Deportable in Wheaton?
Not every criminal offense will affect immigration status in Wheaton, since not every conviction results in deportation. Under current U.S. laws, only the following types of convictions can justify the removal of a legal permanent resident (LPR) from the United States:
- Drug offenses other than simple possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana
- Firearm offenses
- Domestic violence offenses
- Crimes against the United States, such as espionage or treason
- Any aggravated felony as defined by U.S. immigration law
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude
The latter two types of offenses generally make for the most complex cases, as there are many different crimes to which either of these terms could apply. A local qualified immigration attorney could help determine whether a particular criminal conviction could have any bearing on deportation proceedings.
Contesting Deportation Based on Criminal Conviction(s)
Generally speaking, there are two broad strategies for contesting deportation from the United States—a defendant can either argue that they are not deportable based on the grounds named by DHS, or they can pursue relief from deportation based on one of several unique exceptions.
Being convicted in criminal court of an offense does not necessarily rule out the first strategy for contesting deportation, since legal counsel could still argue on an immigrant’s behalf that their criminal record does not meet the criteria for removal set out by federal law.
As for the second strategy, certain criminal convictions in Wheaton may severely limit the options available for specialized relief from deportation. For example, an immigrant convicted of a violent crime like domestic violence may have a difficult time convincing an immigration court judge that their deportation would cause undue hardship for their family. However, less severe offenses should not justify sending an immigrant back to a country where they will suffer severe persecution, and a dedicated lawyer could advocate for prosecutorial discretion on those grounds.
Regardless of the specific defense strategy used, it is important for individuals facing deportation based on criminal charges to not concede their own removability when asked to do so by an immigration judge. Even if the grounds for removal named by DHS are valid, an immigrant who admits so in court will give up any chance they may have had of contesting those grounds and preserving their right to stay in the United States.
Learn More About the Impact of Criminal Charges on Deportation Defenses from a Wheaton Attorney
Criminal charges can often have a significant impact on deportation defenses in Wheaton, but not necessarily in the ways you might expect. Even if the existence of your criminal record is not in dispute, you still could be able to contest your deportation in a few different ways with help from seasoned legal counsel.
If you want to contest your deportation effectively, your first priority should be retaining a compassionate immigration lawyer. Call today to start discussing your legal options.